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Thanks for stopping by the bear cave and checking it out. Being serious all the time is un-bear-able, so we have added a great comic strip at the bottom of page for your enjoyment. Please feel free to leave your thoughts,or shoot us an e-mail with the link to the right. We'd love to hear from all the creatures in the forest.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Zippy" part 2

OK, so where was I? Oh yea, My partner was run out on a 5.9 pitch while "zippy" was moaning and groaning with fear on a 5.7 crack that was, by now, full of a vast assortment of climbing pro. My partner reaches the belay and makes quick work of getting me on belay. I work my way up to him with relative ease, not that I am a good climber, just that I was basically on a top rope and could take more risk without exposure to any real fall. I too passed by zippy's agonizing first pitch. As I reached a height equal to zippy I looked over and felt bad for the guy. I too, have been where he was. That place in life where we make deals with God. That place of sheer death and gnashing of teeth. That place where we say to God, "if You get me out of this I will........." Anyway, zippy's fear dealt us a blow. His fear had spooked us to the point that we were not going to try and tackle the 5.11c pitch. We raped of to another 5.7 and free climbed down it. I felt odd that we were down climbing, free, a route another group was climbing up roped. We said excuse us and went right past them.

The climb is not what I want to bring to your attention. What I want you to think about is how another person's fear can change your direction. Today, I wish we would have had the ability to keep climbing that route. As I think back on that day I realize that the fear of others has effected my own path as well as my own fears. We allowed Zippy to affect our performance even though he was not even really apart of our team. As I reflected on this event I asked myself how many times I have allowed someone else to negatively affect my own effort. As if my own fears are not enough, I realize that I have gave sanction to the fears of others and turned away from some great opportunities. Have you ever experienced such a thing in your life? What do you think we could do to prevent such a thing? I wonder if we would have stopped and struck up a conversation with zippy if we could have improved both groups climbing experience? But noooo, we had to be stoic and not say anything that could have comforted zippy. what would you have done to improve the days out come?

Friday, March 09, 2007

"Zippy"

So, there I was, roped up and ready to fumble my way up a heinous multi-pitch 5.11c line that ascended a 1000+ foot granite monolith. The morning air was a perfect 63 degrees with crystal clear skies. Ever breath was so exhilarating as the smell of pine trees, tincture of benzine, and coffee signaled the impending terror that we were thrusting ourselves into. The sound of our precious climbing gear clanking echoed as our hearts pounded with adrenaline. This was life at its best. We chose this route because it was difficult and long, the four stars on the rating only affirmed that we were going to push ourselves to the physical, mental, and emotional limits. Breakfast included coffee, a dose of fear and a sip of pure joy.

As my partner racked his chosen pieces of pro, I noticed another group already starting their accent up a route that paralleled our route. I thought nothing of their choice as it was a mere 5.7 and did not deserve my respect. We gave our equipment one more look and the magic words were said, on belay?, belays on!, climbing! Like kids in a toy store, the cost of the venture never came across our mind, just wishes, and what ifs. Our route starts with a 160 foot, 5.9 pitch that is run out. One must stay focused in such a situation and not become distracted lest one takes a long and painful grounder. Here, in the very beginning of the morning, before the bright and warming rays of the sun ever cleared the tall pines is where our trouble started.

The group climbing next us turned out to be more of a problem for us than we had ever imagined. The lead climber, who I named "zippy" was engaged in what would appear to be one of the most terrifying experience of his life. Has he ascended the simple 5.7 vertical crack fear had hijacked his normal body functions. As he verbalized his terror and stitched up the crack, his terror spread across the cold granite like a disease. The distraction become almost unbearable to my partner who could not afford fear to take over his body. My partner had no place to put a piece of pro in even if he wanted to. He was committed to vertical ascent no matter how scared he may become. His run out 5.9 pitch had just become a night mare that was not going to go away. If you have never experienced paralyzing fear it is one of those moments that feel like you are out of your body watching bad things happen to you. Zippy continued his verbal dance with fear as he zipped up almost an entire pitch. I watch this situation unfold as I thought to myself, How can anyone carry that much equipment? I noticed my partner swift and stable movement become struggled and hesitant. I soon realized that the course of the days events were already changing.

Here is where the moral of this event comes to life. How many times have we had to change our life course due to someone else's fears? Fears that spread throughout a group and stunt possibilities of greatness. How can we stay focused amongst the most challenging moments in life while those around us fall victim to panic and failure? Stay tuned, there is more to come.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Life Skills Education?

Teaching someone life skills is difficult when they do not intend to be alive long enough to use their new found skills. Why learn something that you will not need? I thought that was a good question, and it was asked recently by a young man that was involved in a program to help him improve his life situation. What would be your next question for him if you were the one working with him? How do we create a desire in our youth to live past their twenty five year birthday? What can we present to them about life that makes them want to explore options past the on-going back-and-forth killing? How does a "character counts" class matter when last night they saw there childhood friend gunned down right in front of their homes?

Not too long ago, I traveled to a neighborhood plagued by violence. I saw young children playing carelessly in front of homes riddled with bullet holes. Blood stained sidewalks serve as the back drop for hop-scotch games and broken glass liter the street where cars once served as targets. The adults in the neighborhood, weary of strangers, did not dare to venture outside. Welcome to Los Angeles. The city of the Angels has become the city where the Angels weep. Death is served up daily in the street justice court room. There is no jury, no investigation, no answers, and everyone from the rival neighborhood is guilty regardless of the circumstances. A ticking time bomb of frustration, fear, and survival. A place where sides are identified by a five and dime colored piece of cloth and an attitude. hopelessness, despair, and numbness to tragedy is the normalcy of life in these neighborhoods. How do we create change in such a place?

I took a moment to think about the little ones playing in the street. If this is the only life they know, how will this violent cycle ever stop? How will they learn that life does not have to be this way? How will they know that there are people out there that really care and want the best for them? I wanted to hug each child and tell them that it will be OK, but that would be a lie. At the present time they are destined for a life of pain and suffering. A life full of sorrow. A life of mis-trust and hate only amplified by the current efforts to reduce such violence. We must learn a different way. We must find a way to change the hearts of men, and create a desire to live. So, I ask you again, what would your next question be to that young man who sees the truth much clearer than most of us?

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